The Mind Games Bk I, Part 8



Mind Games pt 8    If you can find them, hire the A-Team"We'd like to prepare you properly this time; help you adjust to your situation...", the Professor continued. At the environment programming suite you'll be told much more. You'll be s...

Mind Games pt 8    If you can find them, hire the A-Team

"We'd like to prepare you properly this time; help you adjust to your situation...", the Professor continued. At the environment programming suite you'll be told much more. You'll be shown around, told how we've done things so far... a sort of orientation lecture, don't ye know?  A little tour of the facility." I was certainly looking forward to a tour of something apart from the nether regions of Edwards AFB, or wherever this was supposed to be. This seemingly endless desert might as well be the ass end of nowhere.

At this point Karl took out a map. It was blank except for the title.... NOWHERE. I shifted my eyes back to the road to concentrate on my driving. Did that make any difference? Could I really run off the tarmac into the desert and get lost? There was a sign up ahead. When I could see it clearly enough to read it, I read  "YOU ARE APPROACHING THE MIDDLE". Things were going from bad to worse!

"Yes, they were Far Side enthusiasts as well... they did this on the fly, just far a laugh" Oh, very comical, I thought. The People who claimed to have created me from spare parts and old memories had the same sense of humour as a bunch of college fraternity boys. "... and here you are. The middle of nowhere. The environment programming suite, motion capture Studio and Gliessner Peripheral laboratory." I blenched. Surely they weren't going to pretend that they could download me into that infernal machine again?

The desert road ended in a small concrete car park with a couple of SUVs and several saloon cars already parked in it. I drew up in KAR, halting it neatly in a space right next to the back door of a low building constructed in buff coloured brick with triple glazed windows. 'NUMBER SIX' had been stenciled on the wall at the head of this slot, so I knew it was mine. Lined up outside the door were three People I thought I knew.

The professor introduced me to each in turn, "This is Herr Professor Dr David Mentz of Berkeley, California, currently specialising in the mathematics of whole brain simulation, also known as The Kernel," We shook hands. Kernel? Had I heard correctly? "This youngster is Dr Thomas Rankin, Edinburgh and UCLA, specialist in man machine interfaces and bio-informatics. The Other two wanted to call him 'Mr T' but he isn't black so we call him Trank, for short." Trank flinched visibly as we shook hands. He evidently didn't trust me, even though he presumably knew he was in VR; if they had all been telling me the truth all this while. Something I seriously began to doubt. "...and this is Dr Tiffany Carrington, MIT professor of the mathematics of developmental neurobiology. Together, they are the A-Team, working on this project 24/7, as the yanks say."

When Tiffany shook my hand I expected to be thrown to the ground. Tiffany didn't look like the comedy New England homicidal maniac, Wednesday Addams any more. She was dressed from head to foot in a shiny black leather cat suit, had cut her hair short, wore dark glasses and was the spitting image of Carrie Anne Moss. "So... you're Trinity?", I asked hesitantly.

"No, I'm still Quaternity here. You haven't left VR yet, remember?" As if I could possibly have forgotten, she then turned inside out through the fourth dimension everywhere at once while dissolving into biomorphic fractal fragments before my virtual eyes. I nearly heaved. It was an effect worthy of David Cronenberg. I began to feel very queasy indeed.

"By the way.." I asked, remembering something I'd been told but had not understood, "What is 'Good Dog'?"

"It's an improved version of MIT's 'Big Dog' machine. Autonomous... no cables except the one that connects it to your Gleissner peripheral. It's bristling with antennae and microwave dishes that point in all directions; Tiffany's idea, she brought one here from Boston and they modified it. They beat the band width problem. Look out there." Out there, on a tall pylon near Hangar One, there was a giant array of microwave dishes of all sizes, pointing in every direction.

"That wasn't here last time..." I said. In my memory it had only been this morning. I'd momentarily forgotten I was supposed to have been 'paused' on their supercomputer to give them the time to build it; waiting for the electrician, indeed!

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There's more where that came from!